In his Grey Scale series artist Chris Daze Ellis, known as Daze, depicts New York City from different vantage points. The series has a dream-like effect. In each composition a face emerges from a clouded atmosphere. View to the other side presents a cityscape across the East River, while Watery Grave includes three streetcars traveling to an unknown destination. These glimpses into the city overlap with the figures whose stories are revealed in the details of the paintings. Daze bases his Grey Scale series on black and white photographs he shoots on film. Works such as Strays on the Deuce have a monochromatic appearance, although they also include elements of color like purples and blues.

Chris Daze Ellis works out of his studio in the South Bronx. While attending the High School of the Arts in New York City, Daze started tagging streetcars and buildings alongside his peers. Over time his practice expanded to include striking visual imagery that caught viewers off guard as they walked down city streets. He made a shift from painting on exterior walls to painting on canvas in the 1980s. Daze is interested in the everyday lives of people living in the Bronx and other boroughs. For his recent solo exhibition Daily Commute at P.P.O.W. Gallery, Daze painted people navigating common public spaces including subway cars.  

Daze has participated in multiple solo and group exhibitions in cities such as Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, and London. Public art projects are integral to his practice, including a 2017 mural he painted with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Daze has spent time in artist residencies nationally and internationally, most recently traveling to Jardin Rouge in Marrakech, Morocco. His work is included in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of the City of New York, The Groninger Museum, and The Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany.

The Russ Berrie Pavilion Exhibition Series highlights the work of contemporary artists from upper Manhattan. The series offers an annual opportunity for a graduate student to take on a curatorial role, gain valuable experience, and learn about creativity in the neighborhood. It is a collaboration between Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, the Office of Public Programs and Engagement at School of the Arts, and Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University Medical Center.

Detail from Watery Grave, 2012

Past Exhibition

Featured Artist(s)

Chris Daze Ellis

Curated By

Charmaine Branch

Next Exhibition
April 21, 2018 - May 20, 2018

2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition